Chronic anxiety sufferers can greatly benefit from learning relaxation techniques. Relaxation is a practical coping strategy used to help manage stress in our lives. While taking a hot bath or watching TV can be relaxing, in order to have a noticeable effect on our anxiety we need a regular daily practice of some form of relaxation. This is important because we need to balance out all of the heightened intense feelings (heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, muscle tension, etc.) our bodies experience when in the fight or flight mode.
“If you have an especially stressful life, your sympathetic nervous system may always be poised to react to a crisis, putting you in a state of constant tension. In this mode, you tend to react to small stresses the same way you would react to real emergencies. The energy that accumulates in the body to meet this “emergency” must be discharged in order to bring your body back into balance. Repeated episodes of the fight or flight reaction deplete your energy reserves and, if they continue, cause a downward spiral that can lead to emotional burnout and eventually complete exhaustion.” – HealthyNet
Benefits of Relaxing:
Some benefits of deep relaxation include:
- reduction of general anxiety
- preventing stress from accumulating
- increased energy level and productivity
- improved concentration and memory
- reduction of insomnia and fatigue
- increased self confidence
I plan to go more in depth with some of these in the future, but for now here is a list of some relaxation techniques that are helpful for anxiety therapy.
- Abdominal Breathing Exercises
- Calming Music
- Envisioning a Peaceful Scene
- Progressive muscle relaxation
Posted on my left sidebar is an audio post section where I have recorded a How To for an easy breathing technique. This is the first thing I do whenever I start to feel anxious.
How often should you practice these techniques? Edmund J. Bourne, author of The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook and my personal hero, says this:
“Regular practice of deep relaxation for 20 to 30 minutes on a daily basis can produce, over time, a generalization of relaxation to the rest of your life. That is, after several weeks of practicing deep relaxation once per day, you will tend to feel more relaxed all the time.”
I tend to quote him a lot because his words really changed my life. He gave me hope when I was so alone and so confused.
There are many coping strategies and tools at our disposal to help us manage our anxiety. Relaxation techniques are just one strategy in our tool belt and implementing those techniques are worth the benefits we can gain in our daily lives.